When it comes to green home construction or renovation, there are a number of innovative ways to lower your building’s footprint. Using recycled, reclaimed or repurposed materials is among the best ideas. Not only is it an eco-friendly way of using up materials that would otherwise end up in landfill but, in many instances, the materials themselves are more robust and durable that regular construction materials. Here we will look at a few of the most commonly recycled/repurposed/reused materials – and as we are not experts ourselves, we have included links to articles that discuss each material more in-depth.
Reclaimed/recycled, low-grade timber is a good place to start. It is much less expensive than finished wood, but it is just as effective in construction projects. There is an excellent article over here //bit.ly/1Jy1PN2 that talks about using reclaimed wood in your home.
Tires filled with earth or sand are actually one of the best materials around for creating sturdy walls that also help insulate a home very well. The science behind the use of tires is discussed in depth over here //bit.ly/1JOPz7t. Tires can also be used as flower boxes in your garden.
Shipping containers have emerged as a viable alternative to traditional framing. The actual container can be used as is or modified for a larger structure incorporating various green-home technologies. Wikipedia has a very good overview of how shipping containers can be used to build a home. You can read more about it over here //bit.ly/1bar5Kf.
Tin Cans and Plastic/Glass bottles
Other materials that make excellent interior walls are storage cans and/or plastic/glass bottles, such as wine bottles. The cans and bottles are great as non-structural walls and are usually plastered over with either plaster or concrete depending on if they are interior or exterior walls. Bottles have the added benefit of filtering light into the rooms and throwing a lovely rainbow of colours on the walls depending on the colours used. Wikipedia gets detailed with the explanation over here //bit.ly/1P32YKE.
For the Interior
The actual fittings inside your home can also be made from recycled items including sinks, bathtubs, door knobs, etc… Depending on your inclination, your style and your budget, the possibilities of using recycled and reclaimed items in your home are endless. As long as you approach your project holistically and you take into consideration your building site, your local climate, your neighbourhood’s constraints and any local by-laws governing construction, the sky really is the limit.